Young Photographers interview: Ian O'Hara

Photos by Ian O’Hara

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Ian O’Hara is an 18 year old student from Broomfield, Colorado who uses photography to draw attention to the oft-overlooked minutiae he encounters in daily life. He prefers to shoot analog, but is no stranger to digital. Only in December of 2008 did he discover his passion for photography, and since then, it has been an integral part of his life.

1) Can you tell us something about you?

As a kid growing up, I used to dream about being a fighter pilot in World War 3. I loved reading about airplanes and drawing them and making spaceships out of Legos. My imagination was detailed and creative and I think I still manage to escape into that world I lived in as a kid from time to time. I also write, play music, sing, paint, and I sketch.

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2) Where do you live now?
I currently take residency in Tulsa, Oklahoma – which is basically no place of great importance. This coming fall of 2010, I will be taking up university residency in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma.

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3) How long have you been a photographer?
It started in December of 2008, so this month it will be about a year and seven months since I began.

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4) How did you get into photography?
The winter of 2008, I saved up enough money to buy a camera I had been coveting over for a while: a Diana+ 120mm analogue camera. I had a good friend that had been a major influence in getting me to trudge through those horrible first rolls of film, and it was that Christmas that what had started as a simple interest, then became an addiction. My grandfather had been a photographer in the 60’s and 70’s, so I may have gotten the photographic bug from him. However I think I’ve always needed this kind of outlet for my creativity.

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5) Where does your inspiration come from?
I am inspired from music and other photographs I see, mainly on the internet – Flickr and Tumblr more specifically. I listen to music almost every hour of my 24-hour day, with bands like Sigur Rós and Page France having a major role in withdrawing my creative spirit to a visual medium. My peers help me out a lot as well, and I do not think I would be at this point in my life had it not been for their support and aid in critiquing my work and continuing to improve my eye for aesthetics.

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6) What does it mean for you to do street photography?
I do not think I would consider my style of photography as such, but by just leaving the house and taking walks around your town and documenting your adventures, I would say it is the only real way to do it. I do not, however, want to discredit staged photos – they have their rightful place in the creative world, but I think you can gain more satisfaction by knowing you have photographed a piece of the world at a specific moment, than you can with setting them up to look how you would want them to. I guess this means; make the best of what you can.

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7) Can you tell us something about your portraits, what is important to focus on for you?
The portraits I do have are mostly of myself simply because I lack available people to photograph. It’s always hard to be able to convey to a model what you want the photo to look like, because, it’s in your head. I’d say that the genuine feel you get from looking in someone’s eye or having a good conversation is what I aim to achieve when photographing people. How many times I actually do achieve this, I’m not for certain.

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8.) What are your future works, do you have a special project?
I have never had set projects, really. The main thing for me is to be able to keep up with developing photos and plastering them on the internet for people to enjoy; it seems like they are always hungry for more, but I can rarely deliver due to my lack-of-funds issue. What I can say is that a future project of mine would perhaps be to do more landscape photography. That’s always been in the back of my mind, but I have never been able to execute it as well as I have imagined. Oklahoma is not really the most ideal place to find breathtaking scenes.

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